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Jerusalem Church Leaders Speak on Easter

“So, as we celebrate the Resurrection we must be more diligent in searching for the light and in using it to build a better tomorrow for all of us, Palestinians or Israelis, Muslims, Jews, Christians and Druzes.”
This is the voice of the patriarchs and heads of local churches in Jerusalem as they spoke on Easter.
Below is a copy of their Easter message:

* * *

Sisters and brothers here and in all the world, we greet you in the name of our Risen Lord and ask God to fill you with the joy and the strength of the resurrection.

Having opposed early Christians and, indeed, sought to bring many of them to trial for their faith, St. Paul was suddenly challenged by our Blessed Lord as he journeyed to Damascus. Within a short time he became a powerful messenger for Jesus. Reading his various epistles we see he has much to say on many aspects of the Christian faith.

The statement he sets before the Philippians is regarded by many people as the most powerful: "All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings."

In this short sentence he links the cross and the Resurrection. The sufferings he had to face for his faith lead him to become conscious of the power of the Resurrection given to those who truly believe, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Yet again, recent months have shown us much of the hardships and sufferings people have to endure, not least in this land. Much of this burden has arisen from man's inhumanity to men together with the deprivation of basic human dignity and rights, all caused by the siege imposed upon us.

Our Blessed Lord challenges all of us; if we are to be his disciples we must take up our cross and follow him. In the midst of sufferings, we reach for the power of the Resurrection and the power of the Spirit that enables us to take away the oppressions that are imposed upon us.

So, as we celebrate the joy of Easter we must examine carefully where we stand in relation to God. Many of us need to abandon the selfish instinct within us. If we truly seek the power of the Resurrection in our lives, then we must disregard any idea we might have of self-sufficiency or worldly hopes that hide from our eyes the things of heaven and of the Spirit.

If we believe in the Resurrection, we must affirm that our security is with God and in the power of the Resurrection. Again St. Paul reminds us when writing to the Corinthians: "But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us" (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Despite our weakness and despite the unjust circumstances imposed upon us, the power of God can free us if we come to understand the logic of the Spirit in us and if we behave accordingly.

On the first Good Friday, the disciples of Jesus doubtlessly felt shattered. However, gradually their faith was restored as they became conscious of their Risen Lord. Their own personal darkness of fear and uncertainty was suddenly illuminated by the light of Jesus' resurrection.

So, as we celebrate the Resurrection we must be more diligent in searching for the light and in using it to build a better tomorrow for all of us, Palestinians or Israelis, Muslims, Jews, Christians and Druzes. We search for the light that comes from God, illuminates all creation, guides every true believer in his search to find God's freedom for all, together with his peace and justice.

As we greet our sisters and brothers across the world, we wish them the joy of Easter and the power of the Risen Lord in their daily lives. While conscious of the care and concern shown by many of you, we again ask for your particular prayers for this land, that God will guide all its governors and show them the path of justice and equality among all.

Pray for the newly formed Unity Government of the Palestinians together with the Israeli Government and the Arab Initiative, to work to remove fear and all oppression, the walls, the barriers and the prisons, so that hearts become full of trust and all can enjoy the same freedom and the same dignity.

Then we would ask that you make a particular effort to encourage your particular nation to stop the embargo imposed upon us and to restore its aid to the Palestinians. Many vital areas of community are in a desperate plight as a result of the withholding of this aid, not least [among them, areas of] justice, economy, medicine and education, etc. …

As all Christians across the world celebrate Easter together we wish everyone, at home and abroad, that joy which our Blessed Lord's resurrection brings. We ask God to bestow upon all the joy and the power of the resurrection so that the words of Jesus become real as he said: "I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!
May you experience a happy and holy Easter!

Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem

Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem
Patriarch Michel Sabbah, R.C. Latin
Patriarch Torkom I Manooghian, Armenian Orthodox

Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custos of the Holy Land
Archbishop Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox
Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian-Orthodox
Archbishop Abouna Mattias, Ethiopian Orthodox

Archbishop Paul Sayyah, Maronite
Bishop Suheil Dawani, Anglican
Bishop Munib Younan, Lutheran

Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian-Catholic
Archbishop Georges Michel Bakar, Greek Catholic
Father Rafael Minassian, Armenian Catholic


 
LIVES OF THE SAINTS

MAY 1
ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER
This is St. Joseph's second feast day on the Church calendar of celebrations. We honor him also on March 19. St. Joseph is a very important saint.

MAY 2
ST. ATHANASIUS
St. Athanasius was born around 297 in Alexandria, Egypt. He devoted his life to proving that Jesus is truly God.

MAY 3
ST. PHILIP AND ST. JAMES
Both of these saints were part of the original group of Jesus' twelve apostles.

MAY 4
BLESSED MARIE-LEONIE PARADIS
Blessed Marie-Elodie Paradis was born in the village of L'Acadie in Quebec, Canada. It was May 12, 1840.

MAY 5
ST. JUDITH OF PRUSSIA

St. Judith lived in the thirteenth century. She was born in Thuringia. This was in what is now central Germany. She wanted to model her life on the example of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

MAY 6
BLESSED FRANCOIS DE MONTMORENCY LAVAL

Blessed Francois was the first bishop of Quebec City, Canada. He was born in 1623 in a small town in France.

MAY 7
BLESSED ROSE VENERINI

Blessed Rose was born in Viterbo, Italy, in 1656. Her father was a physician. Rose entered the convent but returned home after a few months.

MAY 8
BLESSED CATHERINE OF ST. AUGUSTINE

St. Catherine was born on May 3, 1632, in a little village in France. She was baptized the same day.

MAY 9
BLESSED NICHOLAS ALBERGATI

Blessed Nicholas was born in Bologna, Italy. Nicholas' family could afford to send him to the university where he began to study law.

MAY 10
ST. ANTONINUS

St. Antoninus lived in the fifteenth century. Even as a boy he showed that he had good sense and will power.

MAY 11
ST. IGNATIUS OF LACONI

St. Ignatius was the son of a poor farmer in Laconi, Italy. He was born on December 17, 1701.

MAY 12
ST. NEREUS, ST. ACHILLEUS AND ST. PANCRAS

Sts. Nereus and Achilleus were Roman soldiers who died around 304. They were probably Praetorian guards under Emperor Trajan. We know little else about them.

MAY 13
ST. ANDREW FOURNET

St. Andrew Fournet was born on December 6, 1752. He was from Maille, a little town near Poitiers, in France. Andrew's parents were religious people.

MAY 14
ST. MATTHIAS

St. Matthias was one of Our Lord's seventy-two disciples.

MAY 15
ST. ISIDORE THE FARMER

Saint Isidore was born in 1070, in Madrid, Spain. His parents were deeply religious. They named their son after the great St. Isidore, archbishop of Seville, Spain.

MAY 16
ST. UBALD

St. Ubald lived in twelfth-century Italy. He was an orphan raised by his uncle, a bishop. Ubald was given a good education.

MAY 17
ST. PASCHAL BAYLON

St. Paschal, a Spanish saint, was born in 1540. From the time he was seven, he worked as a shepherd. He never had the opportunity to go to school.

MAY 18
ST. JOHN I

St. John I was a priest of Rome. He became pope after the death of Pope St. Hormisdas in 523. At that time, Italy's ruler, Theodoric the Goth, was an Arian.

MAY 19
ST. CELESTINE V

Peter di Morone was the eleventh of twelve children. He was born around 1210 in Isernia, Italy. His father died when he was small.

MAY 20
ST. BERNARDINE OF SIENA

St. Bernardine of Siena was born in 1380 in a town near Siena, Italy. He was the son of an Italian governor.

MAY 21
BLESSED EUGENE DE MAZENOD

Blessed Eugene was born in France in 1782. He became a priest in 1811. Father Eugene was sensitive to the needs of the poor and he ministered to them.

MAY 22
ST. RITA OF CASCIA

St. Rita was born in 1381 in a little Italian village. Her parents were older. They had begged God to send them a child. They brought Rita up well.

MAY 23
ST. JOHN BAPTIST ROSSI

St. John Baptist Rossi was born in 1698 in a village near Genoa, Italy. His family loved him. They were proud when a wealthy couple visiting their town offered to educate him. His parents knew the couple and trusted them.

MAY 24
ST. DAVID I OF SCOTLAND

St. David was born in 1080. He was the youngest son of St. Margaret, queen of Scotland, and her good husband, King Malcom.

MAY 25
VENERABLE BEDE

Venerable Bede, the English priest, was famous as a saint, a priest, a monk, a teacher and a writer of history. He was born in England in 673.

MAY 26
ST. PHILIP NERI

St. Philip Neri was born in Florence, Italy, in 1515. As a child, his nickname was "Good little Phil." He was always so jolly and friendly that everyone he met loved him.

MAY 27
ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY

St. Augustine was the abbot of St. Andrew's monastery in Rome. Pope St. Gregory the Great chose him and forty other monks for a mission dear to his heart.

MAY 28
BLESSED MARGARET POLE

Blessed Margaret was born in 1471. She was the niece of two English kings, Edward IV and Richard III. Henry VII arranged her marriage to Sir Reginald Pole.

MAY 29
ST. MAXIMINIUS

St. Maximinius was a bishop who lived in the fourth century. It is believed that he was born in Poitiers, France. As a young man, he heard of a saintly bishop of Trier, in Gaul.

MAY 30
ST. JOAN OF ARC

St. Joan was born in 1412. Her hometown was Domremy, a little village in France. Jacques d'Arc, her father, was a hard working farmer.

MAY 31
THE VISITATION OF MARY

Visitation means "visit." The Archangel Gabriel told the Blessed Virgin Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was going to have a baby.

 
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SAINT MICHAEL
St. Michael the Archangel Story
History of St. Michael the Archangel Prayer
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The Chaplet of St. Michael Archangel
Novena to St Micheal the Archangel
Litany of St. Michael the Archangel


SAINT GABRIEL

St. Gabriel Prayer

SAINT RAPHAEL

St. Raphael Prayer
 
PHOTO OF THE MONTH


Tour of the Relics of the Passion
(International Center for Holy Relics)
www.HolyRelics.org

 
REFLECTIONS

“Jesus’ Baptism”

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God?

 
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